Staying Clean at Hot Yoga: “Sweatiquette”

The heat during a hot yoga class is beneficial in many ways: it elevates your heart rate to create a great cardio workout, improves flexibility, detoxes harmful and unwanted toxic chemicals, nourishes your skin, reduces excess water weight and challenges your mind and spirit. But it can also be, well, wet.

So how can we all get along in our sweaty hot yoga rooms?

Invest in a Breathe mat

It depends on what discipline you practice, but if you practice hatha (or Bikram) yoga, I suggest investing in a Breathe mat. This helps absorb more liquid than a towel and will prevent a pool of sweat around you, which your fellow yogis will appreciate. Even better, these mats keep the yoga studio’s floor clean and are more sanitary than traditional yoga mats. My Breathe mats have lasted 10 years and are still in tip-top shape.

Avoid flinging your sweat on fellow yogis and mirrors

You know in Bikram yoga when you swing your arms to and fro in Eagle pose? Flinging your hands and sweat is not necessary to properly do the posture, so spare the people around you and opt for a more gentle arm rotation.

Avoid perfume, cologne and scented lotions

Even if you love the scent of your lotion and perfume, others may not. When you are in a small space, like and airplane or hot yoga room, the fragrance can be amplified. You might need to take a quick shower before heading into the studio and should avoid putting on scented products in the locker room after class. In addition, most fragranced products contain harmful toxic ingredients (read more about that here).

Shower before class if you haven’t showered in a while

It’s super awkward when you practice next to someone who has really bad body odor. Here’s the thing: Most people don’t smell when they practice. It’s in rare cases, when someone hasn’t showered for days, that body odor becomes an issue.

Wring out your wet mat and towels in the shower

Showers are a great place to wring everything out rather than sinks or just letting it create a puddle on the floor.

Be mindful of dripping mats as you exit yoga class

When you pick up your mat and towel at the end of class, please be mindful of where it may be dripping as you leave the studio, walk through the hallways and locker rooms. Also, you know those Breathe mats I mentioned earlier? They don’t drip like towel/mat combinations.

Wipe up around you if you sit down in community spaces

The locker rooms, benches and hallways of a studio can get pretty slippery if people leave puddles around. Simply ask the studio staff if they have a towel (they will!) and wipe up after yourself. That way when someone goes to sit on the bench to tie their shoes, they won’t get a wet bum.

Don’t sweat it

There are small moments when a teacher may sweat on you or you accidentally touch the person practicing next to you. It’s OK, sweat happens!

These guidelines all seem pretty basic, but sweatiquette is simply about respect. These steps all take a little extra work, but they will make the hot yoga experience more enjoyable, keep our studios cleaner and reduces the “gross” factor (which your new friends will appreciate). I have practiced in studios all across the country, and the majority of my hot yoga experiences have been clean and pleasant. Studio directors work hard to create a beautiful space to practice yoga. Let us do our part and keep it that way!

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